BY SY SCHRECKINGER
WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY defines “charity” as “generosity and helpfulness especially towards the needy or suffering”. Personifying this definition and created solely to teach that lesson were a unique group of mechanical banks. Manufactured during the so-called “golden age” of production, i.e. 1880-1920, were such notables as “Patronize the Blind Man and His Dog Bank” (Figure 1), “Peg Leg Beggar Bank” (Figure 2) and our subject, “Help The Blind, Slot Machine Bank” (Figure 3).
Of the aforementioned none conveys Webster’s definition as vividly and dramatically as “Help The Blind”. The mechanical portrays the figure of a blind beggar boy, cane in hand, accompanied by his faithful seeing eye dog. They stand upon a decorative, rectangular pedestal awaiting a charitable donation from a benevolent contributor.
The design and form of “Help The Blind” was executed in a bronze casting that is befitting and reminiscent of a nineteenth century Remington creation.
The sensitivity of the sculpture, combined with its mellow satiny surface captures the need and gratitude of the sightless lad and his canine companion.